Coke versus Pepsi, also known as the "cola wars," is one of the most popular rivalries in modern pop culture history. These two companies have been locked in an intense competition since the 1970s and 1980s. That's around the same time Pepsi came up with the Pepsi Challenge, where marketers asked people to determine which brand they preferred in blind taste tests.

Both companies have a long history of delivering thirst-quenching drinks to consumers, as well as sweet returns for their investors. Read on to find out more about each company as well as their financials.

Key Takeaways

  • Coke and Pepsi have long been brand-name rivals in the soft drink industry, but they also compete for investors by paying handsome dividends.
  • The Coca-Cola Company has increased its dividend every year for 58 consecutive years.
  • PepsiCo has paid a dividend every quarter since 1965.

Coca-Cola History

The Coca-Cola Company held its initial public offering (IPO) in 1919 with the help of an underwriter, the Trust Company of Georgia, which is now known as SunTrust Banks. In expanding, it has stuck strictly to beverage buys, scooping up Costa Coffee, Minute Maid and Honest Tea, among other brands.

The Coca-Cola Company first traded under the symbol CCO but replaced it in 1923 with the current symbol, KO.

It is no surprise the world's largest beverage company offers hefty dividends and is part of that exclusive group of stocks known as dividend aristocrats. To be considered a dividend aristocrat, a company must have a managed dividend policy that has increased its dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years. The company first raised its dividend in 1963 and has continued to do so ever since.

Coca-Cola Performance 

On February 20, 2020, the Coca-Cola Company (KO) announced its 58th consecutive annual dividend increase, raising the quarterly payment 2.5 percent from $0.40 to $0.41 per share.  Not surprisingly, this startling fact places it squarely in the list of so-called dividend aristocrats. 

As of July 2020, the full-year dividend payout represents a yield of about 3.38%. This is nearly double the average dividend paid by soft drink beverage stocks.

For 2019, Coca-Cola recorded $37.26 billion in revenue, up 8.6% from the year before. It had a market cap of around $208 billion as of July 2020.

Investors receive dividends in April, July, October and December from Coca-Cola, while Pepsi pays investors dividends in January, March, June and September.

Pepsi History

Pepsi (PEP), one of the Coca-Cola Company's main competitors, is also included in the coveted dividend aristocrats group.

It may get a little less credit than Coca-Cola in popular lore, but Pepsi has an equally colorful history. Invented in 1893 by a North Carolina druggist, it was originally called Brad's Drink. Its current name was adopted in 1898 and is a reference to the word dyspepsia, a common condition it was claimed Pepsi could cure.

If it hasn't out-sold Coke in the soft drinks category, Pepsi has competed strongly in its breadth of products, going beyond just soda pop. Throughout the years, it has acquired brands including Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Quaker and Tropicana.

Pepsi Dividend Policy Analysis

On July 15, 2020, the PepsiCo board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $1.0225 per share, which was inline with its previous dividend and 7% higher from the year-ago period. Pepsi has paid dividends in every quarter since 1965.  The full-year dividend payout represents a yield of about 3%.

For the 2019, PepsiCo reported $67.16 billion in revenue, up 4% from the year before. As of July 2020, the company had a market cap of $188 billion.